In the last post I explained that most of the pain and suffering we experience as a result of troublesome events and conflict is NOT a product of the actual event but of the significance we have assigned to it. It’s not so much what people have done that has hurt us. It’s “why” we think they did it. We turn the actions of others into statements of what they believe about our personal worth or significance. This is the sin of judging motives. And it has created a world of (avoidable) pain.
In this post I want to try to explain a bit more about how this actually happens. Check out this chart:
Some Facts About Judgments
a. Judgments are beliefs derived from your estimation of someone’s motives, that become written on your heart (mind and emotions).
b. Once these beliefs are accepted, they change the way you see and feel about yourself, the world, people, and God.
c. Your on-going thoughts and feelings relating to that person or event will thereafter carry a bias based on these beliefs.
Many times people do not really know what the deepest held beliefs in their heart are. We make almost unconscious judgments based upon events and they get etched upon our heart and mind. We may still at a more shallow or “public” level maintain a respectable or politically correct opinion. But in our hearts have a deep disconnect with it.
And the belief (or “bias”) that has become etched on our hearts is what ultimately determines how we feel about a person or event. The emotions that are produced in us are a product of these deeply held beliefs. You will try in vain to consistently deny or hold back these (often debilitating) emotions. Because they are the spontaneous byproduct of the beliefs that are etched on your heart.
You must address the judgments (think: beliefs, biases) before you can deeply change the emotions.
For instance, let’s say that a husband has a secret struggle with pornography. And then his wife finds evidence of his sin. This will be a painful experience for her (and shameful for him). But she can make it much more painful than it has to be by how she “sizes up” the event. In other words, the beliefs she embraces about “why” her husband is looking at porn is what will determine her level of suffering.
Many a wife in this situation would conclude: “He obviously is no longer attracted to me and could not still be in love with me.” She has left the objective realm of “what” her husband has done, and has gone off into the pit of speculating about his motives for doing so.
And whatever judgments she makes about this event will become etched into her heart and emotions. It will be almost impossible to judge his motives and NOT make his actions into a statement of her worth in his eyes. She may find it impossible to forgive him because of this. (At least it may be impossible to deeply forgive him – unless she lets go of the judgments she has made.)
All the while, the real reason(s) “why” the man has succumbed to this temptation may have almost nothing to do with her at all. But her judgments makes his sin into a deeply impactful statement about her own beauty and self-worth.
She will never escape the pain and shame she feels regarding this event…unless she can identify and renounce the inner judgments she has made.
I gave an entire lesson on this subject at our church. Click here to go our free resource page and take a listen.
Stay tuned for part 3 of the series.